Coming from someone who just moved here.... - 5/27/2006
I currently attend school here in downtown Birmingham. If you plan on moving to Birmingham, having your own transportation is a must! Everything is located on the fully developed outskirts of this city when it comes to retail, shopping centers, grocery stores, majority of housing, and etc. Mind you, the outskirts range from 10mins away to 30 mins away from the downtown area. It is also normal to hear of people travelling 40 mins plus everyday just to get here from Tuscaloosa or Gadsden. There are many GREAT places to eat, tour, and find entertainment (clubs and pubs mainly) downtown. Majority of healthcare is also downtown.
Traffic is crazy...let me repeat...CRAZY. Everyone is trying to either get into the downtown area or out. It is normal for 5 to 15 mins trips to take 15 mins to an hour long, that is completely normal. In fact, everyone drives anticipating that long of a wait. WHY? WEll everyone is trying to go to the same area, with only one way to get there. No matter what shortcuts you take, you end up on the same piece of highway, spending the same amount of time on the road. 459 doesn't even circle the downtown area, it actually is half a circle. With everyone going or coming left on I-20 to Tuscaloosa and surrounding towns, right toward I-59 Gadsden, Center Point, and Trussville or I-20 toward Pell City and Atlanta, north 65 toward Huntsville and surrounding cities, and finally, south 65 toward Hoover, all from the downtown area at 7am, noon, 3pm, and 5pm you'd wonder how people make it to destinations at all. Mind you, if you're without a vehicle, you'll struggle even more.
People here are actually halfway decent. Half of them naturally have that Southern Hospitality while the other half is not worried about anyone but their own. I see that as quite normal.
The weather is very sunny with a high of 80 and humidity at 80%! That is for a good 3 months tops. Otherwise, it's fairly warm considering I'm from Indiana. When it rains, it pours. When it storms, it storms (potential tornadoes esp. in the spring). It is sunny a lot, but don't let the beautiful sun fool you! Always have an umbrella handy, it may rain in the evening, even at 30% chance. If it's not rain, then it's the humidity that grabs you in the doorway.
In the end, I'd give Birmingham (downtown) a 7. Living in the outskirts that are 10 to 20 mins away would be the best living, in my opinion.[read more...]